How Search Engines Work

The major search engines like Google have a few main functions but ultimately their job is to index all the content on the web and then assess its relevancy.

The main way that the search engines map out the entire web is by analyzing the links connecting them all.  Automated robots called crawlers or spiders are able to reach the billions of pages that exist and continue to pop up online.  

After the search engines find a new page, they then have to determine how important those pages are to people and how well they serve to answer people's questions.  After all, you go to a search engine with a particular search query in mind.  It is the search engine's job to determine whether a particular site answers that question and if so how well.  This complicated system results in a search query results page that ranks different websites in terms of relevance.  This is where search engine optimization comes in.  By designing a site to optimally appeal to the search engines, you are able to rise higher in the rankings and therefore receive more traffic for your particular search queries.

Many factors influence what the search engines consider to be the relevance of a website including the popularity of a site and the reliability of its content.

  A complex algorithm is used to calculate this and an expert is required to optimize your site for the search engines while still maintaining relevance to your potential clients. First of all, it is advised that the pages of your website are actually built and written primarily for the human eye rather than the search engines.  Google's goal is really to provide readers with the best content when they submit a search query.  So the algorithm will always be developing to best serve this purpose.

Furthermore, it's necessary to design the site with a crystal clear site map and hierarchy of content topic areas.  The network of pages that make up the website should be linked to clearly and simply and it should be easy to navigate through the pages without getting stuck or lost.  All titles and subtitles within a given page should be accurate descriptions of the content presented and links should be relevant and reasonable in number.